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THE BIG DAY: No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!
October 5, 2009  | By Diane Werts
 
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And no one expects Monty Python's Flying Circus to be 40 years old.

But Britain's seminal silly surreality first hit the air that long ago today, with all its dead parrots and fish-slapping dances. Wait two more weeks, and IFC commemmorates the event -- doesn't a grand two-weeks-late celebration seem appropriately Python-esque? -- by showing a new six-part history of the comedy troupe that treads familiar ground yet feels fresh at the same time.

I've been previewing the entirety of Monty Python: Almost the Truth - The Lawyer's Cut (Oct. 18-23 at 9 p.m. ET on IFC; out on DVD Oct. 27), and it's a wealth of fun info, even for those of us who've already memorized The Life of Python, Parrot Sketch Not Included: Twenty Years of Monty Python, and various other bio-profile-reunions.

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Creative collaborators Michael Palin, Terry Jones, John Cleese, Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam do separate interviews to talk one more time (as does the late Graham Chapman, via archive film), illuminating how all the absurdity came together. And we get a fine sense of whence it sprung, learning about their childhoods and educations.

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(People forget how smart these Oxbridge boys are, and how that depth and width of knowledge fueled their comic topics. You gotta love that philosophers drinking song: "Immanuel Kant was a real pissant who was very rarely stable...")

We also see the sketches, of course -- at least some of them, in flashes and snippets -- from those 45 golden half-hours of Monty Python's Flying Circus that hit the BBC starting Oct. 5, 1969. But Almost the Truth delves even more deeply into the movies they made next, with nearly an hour each devoted to Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Life of Brian, nicely illuminating the movies' ambition. (Religion-aimed Brian, especially.)

IFC will unreel Python movies, too -- both Grail (Oct. 19 at 10 ET) and Brian (Oct. 20 at 10 EY) -- along with episodes of Flying Circus (11:30-ish ET nightly) and other goodies like 1982's Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (Oct. 18 at 10 ET).

You'll be laughing uncontrollably.

Preview Almost the Truth here.

Or recall the lunatic original:




 
 
 
 
 
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